This Too Shall Pass

Corona Virus, Covid19…wouldn’t you love to have a dollar for every time you have seen, heard or read those words!

Over the past two decades we have been challenged by: HIV/AIDS, Pneumonic Plague, SARS, Avian Flu, Dengue Fever, H1N1(Swine Flu), Cholera, MERS, Ebola, Measles, Zika, and then another rash of measles…and, starting in late 2019…Covid 19.

It certainly appears that Mother Nature stays busy thinning the herd; however, the world’s population continues to grow and after each germ, virus, bug and mosquito epidemic we seem to bounce back and thrive.

If the saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, is correct we should come out of our current mess much stronger indeed…and maybe in-fact.

Of the things which Americans project, can-do rather than make-do, stand out. Some poo-poo “American Exceptionalism” as simply chest thumping, but if it is only chest thumping why has this representative republic become the world’s dominant economic leader less than three hundred years following its founding? That’s an argument to have on another day. Today we must concentrate on hitting the comeback trail.

Back in the 1930″s great depression FDR warned this country that what it had to fear was fear itself…concentrate on fixing the problem rather than becoming frozen by fear of what might happen. Today’s version is, “Prepare. Don’t Panic”.

This too shall pass…And when it does, go out and buy that Life Insurance you should have taken care of before Covid19 came to visit.

Carpe Diem

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We are Living Longer! What do we do now?

Recent survey results suggest we, as a nation, are looking forward to longer life-spans than did our parents and grand-parents. Life Insurance mortality tables now run to age 120, while estimated average ages at time of death are now around age 78. Keep in mind that “average” means many in the calculation lived well into their 90’s and above to off-set those passing away at ages much less than 78, to arrive at the current average.

Life insurance premium rates are lower today than ever before, due to our increasing lifespans. I could put you to sleep explaining how the actuaries factor that into their calculations. Just take my word for it today. (Better yet, ask your life insurance agent to give you a quote.)

The mythical “Retirement Age” of 65 is quickly fading into the sunset as more and more of us continue working far past that age…a lot of us are just getting our second wind at 65. Besides, it doesn’t make sense to spend thirty or forty years developing skills, knowledge, arts and crafts only to walk away from them at an arbitrary age designated way back in the 1930’s.

Living longer is good news, but also includes some challenges, such as the need for a reasonable income in our later years. Wives should anticipate life as a widow for ten or more years after losing their husbands. Plan for that now. (Statistics tell us widows ages 50 and older tend not to remarry.)

Ladies, do your husbands own substantial amounts of life insurance with you as their beneficiaries? What is a “substantial” amount? An example could be one million dollars then invested @5.00% return per year which would create cash flow of $50,000 per year before taxes. Can you live on that, plus Social Security benefits? (assuming SSA benefits are still around then)

Please keep in mind that the million dollars above does not have to be 100% life insurance; however, creating a million dollars in life insurance proceeds, income tax free, can be created with the stroke of a pen while building an investment fund balance of that size could take a lifetime for most of us.

Yes, one must pay premiums to cover the life insurance, but they will be a fraction of the benefits provided…and the full life insurance amount becomes payable immediately at death, whenever that happens.

Think about it, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Carpe Diem

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Who Pays the Bills When You Can’t?

November is Disability Income Insurance Month. Who needs it? Who doesn’t!

Oh yes, that insurance everybody talks about but puts off for another day. All too often the premiums required by Disability Income Insurance policies scare off its potential buyer. Granted, it ain’t cheap, but not having it when you need it will cost you much more before the dust settles.

Expect to pay yearly premiums equal to around one and a half month’s benefit amount…unless you add a bunch of optional add-ons to your policy. So…if you set up Disability Income Insurance to provide $5,000.00 to you each month while you are laid up, expect to pay between $5,000.00 to $7,500 per year on average in premiums for it…meaning you have hedged $60,000.00 in annual benefits, income tax free, in exchange for ten to twelve percent of $60,000.00…to hold the bill collectors at bay. (Your results may vary but one and a half times a monthly benefit amount will be a conservative close estimate)

Still can’t afford it? Take a harder look. Get a quote from an agent or broker you trust. Owning Disability Income Insurance provides a ton of Peace of Mind.

Carpe Diem

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Is Your Insurance Agent or Financial Adviser a “Professional”

Career designations most of us understand, MD, CPA, DO,JD, DDS, DMD, etc., identify vetted professionals having completed advanced educational courses of study, successfully passing demanding tests and examinations, qualified for state licenses to practice, are members of their professional associations and subscribe to a rigid code of ethics.

When your health is involved you need help from a qualified professional. When you run into a legal issue you need help from a qualified professional. When you have an industrial strength tooth ache you need help from a qualified professional.

Unfortunately, when issues involve financial planning or the purchase of life insurance, too many of us fail to recognize the importance of seeking out a qualified professional for advice. If the subject is financial planning, look for designations such as CFP, CFA, ChFC, behind your resource’s name. If the subject is life insurance, look for the designation CLU or ChFC, and someimes CPA, behind your resource’s name.*

Financial planning and ownership of life insurance are elements of an estate plan, and proper estate planning means having your attorney team up with insurance and financial planning professionals to ensure the best outcome.

Only one of the professionals mentioned here typically does not charge you a fee for his/her advice: The CLU. (When the CLU provides life insurance for you, the insurance company under consideration compensates him/her for bringing the business to them and servicing it…no sale, no service fee)

A CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) invests significant time and treasure in university level (via The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA.) study, covering law, trusts, actuarial science, economics, estate and income tax issues, to name a few, as they relate to Life Insurance, on his/her way to earning the CLU designation.

Is your life insurance agent a CLU or ChFC? If not, Why not? Buying life insurance is serious business with long term consequences. Seek out a professional when purchasing something as important as Life Insurance. It’s no brainer.

Carpe Diem

* MD Medical Doctor… CFP Certified Financial Planner
DO Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine… CFA Chartered Financial Analyst
CPA Certified Public Accountant… ChFC Chartered Financial Consultant
JD Juris Doctor (Attorney)… CLU Chartered Life Underwriter
DDS Doctor of Dental Surgery…
DMD Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry…

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Just What is “Business Insurance”?

Okay, you are about to rent office space for your new business and your new landlord insists you provide proof of business insurance in order to finalize the lease. What is it and how do you get it?

“Insurance” is a very broad term with many applications. There are life and health insurance plans providing benefits when the insured person dies, or incurs expenses resulting from illness or accidental injuries. Subsets include Disability Insurance, to replace income lost due to illness or accidental injury, plus Long Term Care Insurance to provide dollars to pay the bills for at-home or institutional care. The common thread there requires the insurance be provided to cover a living person.

Then there is insurance to cover things and events…Think planes, trains and automobiles…Mechanical things break, or someone unintentionally breaks them, creating a need for dollars to fix or replace them. Fire or weather damages or destroys a home or business, creating the need for cash now to repair or replace. That form of insurance is referred to as “Property/Casualty” insurance, or short form,”P&C Ins.”.

Insurance on residences or personal automobiles is referred to as “Personal Lines insurance”. Insurance on offices, stores and most other items needed in order to operate a business is referred to as “Commercial” lines insurance.

There is insurance to cover events and legal responsibilities such as professional liability, business errors & omissions, and similar events.

In addition to the above there are dozens of additional insurance products to cover much more than has been mentioned here.

Average small business owners, will need Commercial Insurance to cover losses created by fire and wind storm, burglary/theft, in addition the liability insurance in case someone is injured while in his/her business establishment. Get those from a qualified Commercial Property & Casualty Insurance Agent. Good ones will have affordable policy packages to fit your landlord’s requirements.

You may or may not be able to get what you need from the guy or gal who insures your home or automobile, since most of them specialize in “Personal Lines” of insurance. Instead, Google “Commercial Insurance” in your town to find a more qualified agency which specializes in serving business clients.

Carpe Diem

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Relying on a GoFundMe Page Might Not Be Your Best Option

Key character in Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel, Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara, handles difficult situations by kicking them down the road with signature line, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow”.

Not having a plan to replace your family’s lost income stream if you don’t survive an accident or illness this week is precisely, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow”.

How many times have you seen a story on local TV news about someone’s death or disabling injury, followed by: “A GoFundMe account has been set up at XYZ Bank to pay for the funeral…or hospital bills..etc.”

What is your plan? If your are financially secure, make sure your survivors have access to cash in an emergency. If you and your spouse or trusted partner have separate savings/checking accounts, consider updating them to joint accounts. Consider other ways to address financial issues now rather than ignoring them.

Today, start building a rainy day fund to cover at least six month’s family living expenses. Do it now with cash and Life and/or Disability Income Insurance…then take it off your, “I’ll do it tomorrow” list.

Carpe Diem

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Small Group Insurance Considerations for the Owner/Operator

With the advent of 2010’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts(Obamacare),many small business owner/operators abandoned their support for group life/health/disability insurance plans and opted to have their employees enroll in individual guaranteed issue health insurance policies instead. Doing so relieved the company owner from paying out substantial group insurance premiums every month and, in many cases, allowed former group insurance covered employees to shift some of their health insurance premium costs to the tax payers through insurance premium credits based on former employees’ yearly incomes.

Spring forward to 2019…Affordable Care Act premium costs have vaulted into the stratosphere forcing those former small business employees to add crushing annual deductibles to their already over-priced health insurance plans in an attempt to shoehorn them into their household budgets.

As a small business owner, ask yourself how much it costs you to find and keep a quality employee…then find his or her equally qualified replacement, while your business suffers through the void caused when that person leaves you to work at a place offering group health insurance? Re-establishing a small group health,life and disability plan might be worth its cost to you in the long run. The vital employees you must keep will be much less likely to leave you for work at your competitor’s shop down the street if you offer group insurance as a benefit.

Think about it.

Carpe Diem

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Own Some Life Insurance….An Advantage You May Not Have Considered

Okay, you’re way too young to think about supporting yourself in retirement now, but the years have a way of slipping by and one day in the future while sitting in a room full of people it will dawn on you that you are the oldest one there. BUMMER! Going forward how are you going to continue living in the grand manner to which you have become accustomed when the pay checks stop coming in? Social Security retirement dollars won’t do the job…assuming it is still around, and you may or may not have a few pension dollars from your employment years. We are living longer now and you will need a resource for more cash in your later years so life insurance should be in the mix as a go-to resource.

If the question is when and how much to start investing for retirement, the answers are NOW and ANY. If it’s only fifty or a hundred bucks a month, start now. The older you will look back and thank the younger you, I guarantee it…and include life insurance in your investment strategy. Together with stocks, bonds and other investments, whole life insurance provides a hedge against dying too soon…providing income tax free cash to help support your widowed spouse/children…or living too long…providing additional income from its cash value if needed.

Over the past seven years life insurance dollars have supplemented Social Security to the tune of One Trillion Dollars*,(that’s a one followed by twelve zeros). Assuming my admittedly suspect math is correct: Starting today, you could spend $1,000,000 per hour, 24 hours each day for the next 411 Years before going through the full trillion bucks…so it makes sense to include life insurance in your retirement nest egg portfolio.

carpe diem

*, 9/07/18

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Travel Medical Insurance…Don’t Leave Home Without it!

A prominent credit card company whose name you know well uses “Don’t leave home without it” as a very effective tag line in its advertisements. However, when you travel outside the good old USA, there is another “Don’t leave home without it” item that could save you thousands of dollars and days of worry and anxiety…Travel Medical Insurance.

Most US health insurance policies, personal, family and employer-sponsored group health insurance plans, cover you in the USA and its territories…and some cover you for limited periods of time outside the US. However, almost none pay to fly you back home if you are stuck in a foreign country after suffering a accidental injury or other debilitating health issue…So when you travel to foreign countries don’t leave home without first obtaining Travel Health Insurance.

When you take that cruise to the Caribbean, Europe, the far east, you are in a foreign country almost as soon as you see the boat pick up the harbor pilot outside your US port of departure.

Proper Travel Health Insurance pays for claims just like traditional major medical insurance…you select a deductible amount to pay before benefits kick in, then you and your insurance company share paying for the rest of your claim up to a agreed upon dollar limit. But here is the big kicker: If you are stuck in a hospital bed somewhere in another country, your vacation trip destroyed and no affordable way to get back home, a Travel Medical Insurance Policy containing a benefit called “Repatriation” could be your salvation.

“Repatriation” Benefits provide the cash to fly you home on an Air Ambulance and also pick up the tab to pay for someone to accompany you on the trip back. If you are traveling alone, Repatriation would pay to have someone you nominate fly out to your location and accompany you home.

Travel Health Insurance containing the Repatriation benefit is not expensive, and worth every penny. Get it from your travel agent or through your health insurance agent.

Real life case: This year, during a family vacation trip to the Dominican Republic, an Indiana high school coach was severely injured while swimming in the Caribbean. Between his medical bills on the island and travel expenses to return home the coach had to come up with more than $30,000. He had not thought to obtain Travel Medical Insurance prior to leaving the US and he certainly did not have ready access to that much cash. His family desperately started a GoFundMe page to raise the cash and was eventually able to pay the bill.

Our coach was lucky. He could have been half way around the world when he experienced his accident and his air ambulance bill could have been $200,000! Owning Travel Medical Insurance could have saved the day.

Here is a current example from a leading provider of Travel Medical Insurance:

7 day family vacation to Jamaica, 2 adults each age 40, two children ages 12 and 17…Travel Health Insurance with $250 deductible/$1,000,000 medical maximum and $500,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation Benefit…Price, $49.38

carpe diem

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What are you willing to pay for peace of mind?

Enjoying Peace of Mind comes at a cost.

Just imagine not having to worry about life’s “what if’s”: What if I get hurt or sick and can’t pay my bills? /What if some nitwit plows into my car and kills me? What happens to my spouse and kids?/What if my money runs out before I die?/ The list seems endless.

You could take your lead from Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara…”I’ll think about that tomorrow”…but, when tomorrow arrives, what then?

Think about investing in some peace of mind ownership. Owning Life Insurance creates some peace of mind. Owning Disability Income Insurance offers some peace of mind. Making an annuity a part of your retirement savings plan buys some peace of mind…Ignoring life’s “what ifs” does not eliminate them, but if you are willing to risk them anyway, you are on your on.

Share a cup of coffee with your insurance agent while the two of you explore some affordable ways to eliminate some “what ifs”. I’m sure your agent will pay for the coffee and you will have only invested a little of your time.

Care Diem

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